C.T.Studd has said “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him”. I agree wholeheartedly. But I also agree with Dr. David Livingstone asking “If a commission by an earthly king is considered a honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?…People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege”.
I think we are once again looking at a paradox at its best. For the world it might look like a huge sacrifice giving up some pleasures and the life style they love. But for the person who is answering God’s call it suddenly becomes the best thing ever happened to her/him. How is this possible? It’s not possible for us but it is possible for God! Self-preservation is the way of the world. Self-sacrifice is the way of God powered by the Holy Spirit.
Catherine Booth equips us this way: “Whatever the particular call is, the particular sacrifice God asks you to make, the particular cross He wishes you to embrace, whatever the particular path He wants you to tread, will you rise up, and say in your heart, ‘Yes, Lord, I accept it; I submit, I yield, I pledge myself to walk in that path, and to follow that Voice, and to trust Thee with the consequences’? Oh! but you say, ‘I don’t know what He will want next.’ No, none of us know that, but we know we shall be safe in His hands.”
So let’s continually offer up a sacrifice of praise through him, which is the fruit from our lips that confess his name. Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have because God is pleased with these kinds of sacrifices. (Hebrews 13: 15-16, CEB)
Until we take the leap of faith to follow God’s calling we don’t know the blessings that are attached to the sacrifice we are about to make. It comes once again to trusting God and his promises. J.I. Packer encourages us to be radical for Christ: “Have you been holding back from a risky, costly course to which you know in your heart God has called you? Hold back no longer. Your God is faithful to you, and adequate for you. You will never need more than He can supply, and what He supplies, both materially and spiritually, will always be enough for the present”.
So, brothers and sisters, because of God’s mercies, I encourage you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God. This is your appropriate priestly service. Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature. (Romans 12:1-2, CEB)
It sure is time to set aside our excuses. God does not plan bad things for us. Frederick Buechener’s famous quote underlines this, too: “the place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” It might seem like a sacrifice but it ends up being a privilege instead. It is indeed a honor and a privilege to serve God. Yet we are not doing it alone. We are powered by the Holy Spirit. Hence we can be bold like David Livingstone and say: “Without Christ, not one step; with Him, anywhere!”
We give you our excuses and fears.
Show us how you change them to boldness.
Show us how you change our sacrifices into blessings.
Give us courage to follow you no matter where you lead.
Show us how to life faithfully and fearlessly.
May thy will be done!
In Jesus’ name,
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you follow Christ into new adventures of faith. God is with you wherever you go!
Q4U: Have you experienced the paradox of sacrifice?
Do you want to win a copy of the Common English Bible softcover edition? Just leave a comment on any blog post this week (or any week during the blog tour). The winner will be announced again on Monday!
All these CEB give aways are possible because I am participating in the Common English Bible Blog tour. Until the end of January I will mostly be using the Common English Bible (CEB) on my blog posts. Let’s check out this fresh new Bible translation!